Osama bin Laden is dead, President Barack Obama announced to the nation late Sunday from the White House.
The president said he sent a small U.S. Special Forces team into a compound deep in Pakistan Sunday and that team engaged Al-Qaida forces in a firefight, killed bin Laden and emerged with his body.
The operation came nearly 10 years after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that killed almost 3,000 Americans reportedly on the orders of bin Laden.
"We were united as one American family," Obama said of that day. "We were also united in our resolve."
CNN showed a growing crowd outside the White House late Sunday, chanting "USA!" and singing the Star-Spangled Banner.
As part of that continuing resolve to bring the perpetrators to justice, the president said, he made the capture or killing of bin Laden the top priority of the U.S. war on terrorism. In August, Obama said, the United States first obtained credible information that bin Laden was in the location in Pakistan where he was killed Sunday.
"It took months to run that thread to ground," Obama said, and last week the White House had enough intelligence to take action. The president issued the order Sunday, he said.
"His death does not mark the end of our effort," the president said. "We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad."
He said the American team took care to avoid harming civilians and suffered no casualties itself in the successful action, which he said happened in part because of the aid of Pakistani intelligence but not necessarily with the knowledge of Pakistani authorities.
Obama added that the continuing cooperation of Pakistan in the war on terrorism is essential.
"We are not at war with Islam," Obama said. "Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims."
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